Haitian Orphans and Adoption

Parents that have been in the process of adopting from Haiti are distraught at prospects that their adoptive children could be kept from them indefinitely as a result of the destruction of government records and systems and the loss of key documents, as well the deaths of key government officials.  Meanwhile, a large number of American families are indicating their willingness to adopt newly-orphaned children.

The current focus of most organizations at present needs to be addressing immediate issues—medicine, water, food, shelter and other necessities.  Even beyond the immediate crisis, it is unlikely avenues for new adoptions will open in the near term.  However, officials in the U.S. State Department have begun looking seriously at alternative ways for families already in the adoption process to complete their adoptions as quickly as possible.  (See their most recent public posting here.)

The details of what alternatives will look like have not yet been revealed, and adoptive families should not yet raise expectations of immediate processing.  What we do know is that in-process adoptions are the first-wave priority, and the State Department has committed to working to secure adoption visas (IR 3 and 4s) whenever possible as quickly as they are able.  In addition, some members of Congress and advocacy organizations are urging the State Department to allow what called “humanitarian parole” for children who have been referred, which would allow the child to travel to the U.S. without a visa.

In the coming days, we anticipate an announcement from the State Department with greater details on visa and/or “humanitarian parole” options.  In the meantime, per the U.S. State Department:  all adoptive parents with pending Haitian adoptions are encouraged to email haitianadoptions@dhs.gov with the documents listed as “The following case documents may be useful to USCIS”. Providing these documents in the format requested, may be critically useful if the U.S. government uses humanitarian parole for those children already referred to U.S. adoptive families.

USCIS requests that all communications from prospective adoptive parents and adoption service providers should be formatted as follows:

  • Subject line: LAST NAME, First name of the adopting parent, and USCIS case number and NVC case number, if  available
  • If you are adopting more than one child, please send separate e-mails for each child
  • Include the name, DOB, gender of the child, and the current location of the child in Haiti
  • Include any contact information for the child’s current whereabouts
  • Please include a recent photograph of the child
  • Attachments: please limit attachments to 10 megabytes per e-mail message.  If necessary, split your communica­tion into more than one message, and indicate in the subject line the total number of e-mails and the message num­ber  (i.e. “1 of 2”)

The following case documents may be useful to USCIS;

  • Full and final Haitian adoption decree
  • GOH Custody grant to prospective adoptive parents for emigration and adoption OR
  • Secondary evidence of either of the adoption or custody decree
  • Proof of travel by the prospective adoptive parents to Haiti to visit the child
  • Photos of the child and prospective adoptive parents together
  • ASP “Acceptance of Referral” letter signed by the prospective adoptive parents
  • IBESR approval
  • Legal relinquishment or award of custody to the Haitian orphanage
  • Secondary evidence of the above (e.g. e-mail correspondence, copies, ASP correspondence)

Updated information will be provided on www.adoption.state.gov as it becomes available.